Recognizing the Symptoms of Common Cold

Jun 17, 2009
Common cold usually begins suddenly with sore throat, stuffy nose and sneezing, watery eyes and sometimes with a slightly increased body temperature. The viruses of common cold also may cause such symptoms as coughing.

Usually, you are more likely to catch a common cold in spring or autumn.During the first days after catching cold, you will have increased watery mucus, secreted from the nose. Later, these secretions can become darker and thicker. Dark mucus is characteristic for the virus of common cold, and this doesn't necessarily mean that you have a bacterial infection. Keep in mind that common cold is a viral, so do not hurry to ask your doctor to prescribe you antibiotics.


Moderate coughing is also a characteristic symptom of common cold.Coughing should not become worse, but the symptom is likely to persist during the second week of the illness. If you suffer from asthma or pulmonary disease, common cold complications can arise. If you have dark mucus or if you feel the feeling of heaviness in your lungs, it is possible that you have a bacterial infection. In this case you should immediately contact your doctor.

Body temperature

You may not have a fever, but your body temperature can be slightly increased. Fever and other more serious symptoms might indicate that you have flu, and not common cold. However, children can have low-grade fever when they catch a cold, if compared to adults.


Common cold can cause the following complications: laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, inflammation of the ear and sinusitis.

According to the level of the respiratory tract affected during common cold, there may appear different symptoms. For example, if the larynx is affected (laryngitis), the first symptoms will be hoarse voice and rough coughing. Frequent coughing, along with pain in the chest are characteristic for tracheitis. And, in case of bronchitis, there will be dry or wet coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

The symptoms of common cold usually begin from one to three days after one is infected. As a rule, they last three to seven days on average. If these symptoms persist for more than a week, then you may have a bacterial infection. During the first three days, when you already have symptoms of cold, you can also infect the people around you so avoid close contacts or take measures to prevent transmission of the virus.